In New York, the Move Over law – New York Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1144A (NY VTL § 1144A) – requires drives to be cautious when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle or so-called “hazard vehicle.” Whether it’s a police car, fire truck, ambulance, tow truck, or even another normal vehicle that presents a hazard, if it’s on the side of the road or in one of the travel lanes, drivers are expected to move a full lane to the left of the stopped vehicle(s) and proceed at a reduced speed.
In other words, if there is an accident and first responders are working the scene, drivers are expected to move a full lane to the left of the incident and slowly move past the area. If a roadway construction crew is working in a lane, then drivers should take care to avoid it in the same manner.
What If a Driver Can’t Move Over?
There may be a situation in which a driver can’t move over because doing so would violate another rule of the road indicated by signs, markings, lines, etc. This can also be the case on single-lane streets or other scenarios where moving to the left is impossible because of other obstructions.
For situations such as these, a driver can successfully defend against a failure to move over violation if he or she found it unsafe to make a lane change (NY VTL 1128). This can be a strong defense because there is no objective standard for determining what a reasonable person would do in such a scenario. This can especially be true if moving over means moving into the opposing lane of travel, which can certainly pose a safety hazard if there are other motorists on that side of a road.
What Are the Penalties for a Move Over Violation?
A conviction for violating the Move Over law results in a fine of up to $150 for a first offense. If a second offense occurs within 18 months after the first, the fine for that violation can go up to $300. Finally, a third or subsequent offense within 18 months of the first can be punished with a fine of up to $450.
There is no possible jail sentence for Move Over violations, but each offense incurs two points against one’s driving record. Remember that 11 points within 18 months is all it takes to lose a license! Before that, however, offenders with six points occurring within 18 months will be finished with a Driver Responsibility Assessment (DRA) fee, which costs about $300 at six points another $75 per each additional point.
Finally, convicted drivers will be obligated to pay a state surcharge of $88 or $93 for each violation.
Did You Get a Move Over Ticket?
If you were cited for failing to move over for a stopped emergency vehicle, roadworkers, or a hazard vehicle, we at Stites Law can help you defend against your charges. For more information about what we can do for you, please get in touch with our attorney to schedule a consultation.